Nigeria is battling one of the biggest lawsuits of our time, defending against the aggressive tactics of a shell company, P&ID.
Far from the “sole purpose company” committed to providing electricity for Nigeria that it claims to be, it is the FRN’s position that P&ID has always intended to defraud the FRN out of billions of dollars. Should P&ID be successful in enforcing the US$10 billion award, it will strip the nation of critical national assets and add considerably to its international debt.
While P&ID fronts the dispute, it is a shell company owned by two funds: VR Advisory Limited and Lismore Capital, who both acquired their stakes in P&ID following the arbitral award ruling in 2017 and are now funding its attempt to enforce the contested arbitration award against the FRN.
VR Advisory is part of the VR Capital Group, a well-known hedge fund, which has a long history of investing in distressed sovereign debt.
Less is known about the Cayman Islands-based entity, Lismore Capital.
Lismore Capital is the majority shareholder in P&ID with a 75% stake and would be set to take home the lion’s share of the enforcement of the arbitral award. Yet, very little is known about the fund.
What makes scrutinising Lismore Capital even more important is the fact that it is – unusually – headed by P&ID’s former arbitral counsel, Mr Seamus Andrew. Mr Andrew is also head of a London-based law firm.
Mr Andrew acted as P&ID’s lead counsel in the arbitration from September 2014 until the Final Award, which was handed down in February 2017. According to Mr Andrew’s evidence to the English court, Lismore Capital purchased its sizable stake in P&ID only eight months later, in October 2017.
Alongside representing P&ID during the arbitration, Mr Andrew has submitted evidence for P&ID multiple times throughout this case. He has also made transfers to both VR Advisory Services and to P&ID.
Lismore Capital and Mr Andrew are also no strangers to controversial litigation. In 2018, Lismore Capital received a US$ 20 million payment, which was described as an “IPCO Settlement Distribution”. The settlement related to an arbitration involving Nigeria, and Michael Quinn and Brendan Cahill. The English Court of Appeal found that the arbitration proceedings were prima facie fraudulent.
It is the FRN’s position that Mr Andrew’s financial interest in this case is abundantly clear.